Dog Whistle?

A political dog whistle is, according to Wikipedia: “Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup.”

Is that what the Sacramento Bee is doing with these two article titles—one promotional on the front page and one the title on the article page?

The promotional title is on the front page of the June 17, 2017 print and e-edition, lower right hand corner: Homeless adrift without parkway: Parkway crackdown will send campers into neighborhoods.

The article title on the article page is: Will cleaning up the American River Parkway send more homeless people into the suburbs?

To the general reader this may seem just helping the homeless; but suburban readers further up the river from the Parkway Skid Row—between Discovery Park and Cal Expo—may see this a clear reminder that strictly enforcing the illegal camping ordinance in Skid Row will push illegal campers into our neighborhoods, which includes my family as we live in Sierra Oaks, so a good point is made that any additional efforts at stopping illegal camping should include the entire Parkway.

We couldn’t agree more.

Here is an excerpt from the Bee article.

Piles of garbage, used needles and human feces from homeless campers. County leaders agreed this past week that such refuse is unacceptable, whether along the cherished American River Parkway or on residential streets and sidewalks.

But can the county crack down on parkway camping without pushing more homeless people into neighborhoods?

County supervisors launched a vigorous and unusually frank debate that will continue into the summer as they jockey for more funding to address homelessness and resident complaints.

Supervisor Phil Serna, who represents a large portion of Sacramento, including the lower half of the American River Parkway where homeless camps are concentrated, wants about 37 new park rangers, maintenance workers and animal control officers along the troubled riverbank. He envisions six patrol teams with social service workers and county prosecutors.

In 2016, park rangers cited about half as many homeless people for illegal camping compared to the previous year, drawing complaints from parkway visitors. In one instance this year, a bike commuter ended up in the hospital after being attacked by two off-leash dogs on the parkway. And recently, three bicyclists were hit with rocks on the parkway by men they believe are homeless.

“This has to be the year that we take a big, bold step,” Serna said.

“We have taken tiny little baby steps out of the recession, and I think for good reason,” he told his colleagues. “I think the responsible thing to do is to take that bold step at the same time that we’re taking other bold steps to add capacity so we can answer the question ‘Where will they go?’ ”

Pushback came from Supervisor Susan Peters, who said parkway enforcement will send homeless campers into the adjacent neighborhoods, which are already struggling under an increasing population of people on the streets. Peters, whose district stretches along the American River from Arden Arcade to Fair Oaks, said one of her constituents recently tackled a homeless man who walked right into his house.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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